Teams are a key element of continuous improvement. A team is a group of people linked in a common purpose. This is different from a committee, in which each individual often has their own agenda. In my experience, many companies think they have teams but in fact what they have are committees.
Here are five things you can do to strengthen the teams at your company:
1. Hire for intrinsic traits
Many managers focus on technical skills when hiring new people, but it’s more important to hire people who have the traits that will let them thrive in your business culture. Traits such as hard work, flexibility, ethics, communication and teamwork are important foundations for success in team environments. Technical skills can be taught to the right person.
2. Pay well
Pay is known as a de-motivator, not an element of motivation. In other words, paying too low demotivates people, while paying very well does not motivate people. Except in cases where the work is highly repetitive, studies suggest that motivation is more likely to come from recognition, being on a great team, and providing exceptional customer experiences than from pay. Try to keep your pay scales at or slightly above the mid-point of the market, then focus on great benefits, recognition and an excellent work environment.
3. Provide clear objectives
A team is a group with a common purpose. The purpose and objectives need to be clearly defined.
4. Give autonomy
This goes beyond empowerment. Autonomy is independence to create a work environment. With clear objectives, autonomous teams can yield powerful results.
5. Focus on progress and improvement
Track progress toward goals, not just goal attainment. World-class athletes strive to get better. If your teams are goal focused, when they attain the goal, they don’t know what to do next. If they focus on progress, there is no finish line.
Have you used any of these methods to build teams in your company? What other ways have you found to create strong teams whose results are sustained over time?
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